'Writing' aesth-ethics on the child's body: Developing maternal subjectivities through clothing our children

Astrid Huopalainen, Suvi Satama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

What could we learn from the 'aesth-ethic' practices of clothing children? The dual focus of this article is to analyse the everyday clothing of children as well as the development of maternal subjectivities as relevant to discussions of aesthetic labour in the field of organization studies. Drawing upon the literatures on aesthetic labour and maternal subjectivities in the field of organization studies, we develop a fine-grained understanding of the relatively intense and effortful maternal labours that clothing our children encapsulates. Methodologically, we use autoethnographic diary notes combined with feminist 'memory work' to analyse clothing as an affectual form of storytelling or 'writing' on the child's body that (re)produces certain sociocultural understandings about mothering, sustainability and childhood(s) in a Nordic context embraced by western consumerism. By considering the limitations of the approach taken to drawing wider conclusions about motherhoods, identity construction and clothing, this article advances our understanding of the development of particular middle-class maternal subjectivities seeking to problematize mass consumerism through childrenswear, and how idea(l)s concerning gender and childhood(s) are being (re)produced in and through clothing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98–116
Number of pages19
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • aesthetic labour
  • autoethnography
  • maternal subjectivities
  • memory work
  • Clothing

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